Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission --
Summary of Wisconsin Court Decision relating to Unemployment Insurance
Subject: Scott H. Slang vs. Labor and Industry Review Commission, and 7-Up Bottling Oshkosh, Case No. 01-CV-006583 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Milwaukee Co., April 4, 2002)
Digest Codes: PC 711 - Hearing, Late Request For Hearing - late appeal due to errors by paralegal and assistant in appellant's lawyer's firm - case law normally holds litigants to the consequences of their attorneys’ errors
The initial determination found that the employee quit his employment, and his request for hearing was received two days late. A hearing was held to address the timeliness issue. At the hearing, testimony was given that the employee’s attorney’s paralegal drafted an appeal letter seven days prior to the appeal deadline, and gave it to an assistant to fax to the department. The assistant mistakenly faxed the letter to the paralegal’s fax number instead of to the department’s fax number. Two days after the appeal deadline, the paralegal became concerned because he had not received confirmation of the appeal from the department, so he called the hearing office. The hearing office informed him that the appeal had never been received. The paralegal then discovered what had happened and faxed the late appeal that day. The appeal tribunal found that the request for hearing was not late for a reason beyond the employee’s control, within the meaning of Wis. Stat. § 108.09(4)(c). The commission affirmed.
The employee’s argument to the circuit court was that his late appeal should be excused because it was late due to the paralegal’s and the assistant’s errors.
Held: The commission is affirmed. Federal and state case law normally holds litigants to the consequences of their attorneys’ errors. The commission’s finding that the appeal was not late for a reason beyond the employee’s control is completely reasonable.
Please note that this is a summary prepared by staff of the commission, not a verbatim reproduction of the court decision.
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